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Why Dr. Dre’s Halftime Show Nostalgia Was Exactly What America Needed

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Credit: Jason Persse

The last three years have been hard. Dr. Dre knows this. Despite the fact that he is not a licensed medical practitioner, he somehow gave us the medicine we needed: West Coast Gangsta Rap nostalgia. 

The pandemic made us all long for a time when we could breathe next to strangers without anxiety. The ‘90s and early 2000s were eras where you could walk through life without a face condom and raw dog as much air as your nostrils could handle. You could also smoke weed, which, if you took suggestions from Nate Dogg, would be every day (ay yay yay).

The performance illustrated something we all know in the most blatant of terms. Black music is America’s greatest cultural export.

The performance illustrated something we all know in the most blatant of terms. Black music is America’s greatest cultural export. Think of it like this: Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, and Compton, a small city that is among LA County’s most neglected, was responsible sonically and visually (there was an aerial map of Compton on the field during the performance) for what made Los Angeles special on a world stage. 

I know this is the Bay Area, and I’m not shilling for our shitty sun-burned neighbors to the south, but this is applicable to nearly every major city in America. 

Black culture created our music. Every generation has songs that they can bond to, and if you’re American, or under the age of 100, you’re likely bonding over the direct or indirect genius of black musicians. 

The NFL needed to do this. Not only is our music supported by the talent of black America, but our sports are dominated by their physical prowess. And the NFL is one of the greatest benefactors of black excellence. 

Aside from that, they had to make up for their treatment of former San Francisco 49er, Colin Kaepernick, who was suspended for not standing during the National Anthem, which is a song that doesn’t even slap. 

But this fucking performance certainly did. 

Dr. Dre rose from the ground like he was Hip Hop Jesus looking like a Ninja Turtle without the bandana in the best way and Snoop Dogg was dressed like a crip-walking version of the magic carpet from Aladdin

The show started by announcing it was brought to us by Pepsi, reminding us that even this concert in the middle of an event celebrating athletes was funded by diabetes dollars. Dr. Dre rose from the ground like he was Hip Hop Jesus looking like a Ninja Turtle without the bandana in the best way and Snoop Dogg was dressed like a crip-walking version of the magic carpet from Aladdin. It was wonderful. Without warning a chubby 50 cent was telling the shorties to go because it was the anniversary of their birth while upside down. Mary J. Blige can still sing her ass off and Kendrick Lamar had more energy than everyone else, which makes sense because Kendrick was the only person there that hasn’t been in the rap scene since at least the ‘90s

After Kendrick Lamar’s energetic performance, Eminem performed “Lose Yourself” which he does now at every corporate event when he’s forced to come out of his rap cave somewhere in the elite suburbs of Detroit to attend. He ended the performance by taking a knee, which felt unforced and appropriate.

The show finished up with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performing ‘Still Dre.” 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better or more fitting halftime show in NFL history. Every performance was good and considering how shitty the present has been, it’s nice to escape to the past every now and again… 

WEST SIDE!

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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is a San Francisco-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, BrokeAssStuart.com. His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground will be available early 2022.

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